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Father's Day Play

Father’s Day Play

This year we celebrated Father’s Day a little different than the traditional norm.

My middle son called Friday afternoon on his lunch break at work to see if he could drive up with his almost-three-year-old son the day before Father’s Day. A change in plans at home meant his wife would be helping a friend with their wedding preparations.

We immediately said yes and rescheduled our not-so-set-in-stone plans.

Wise choice.

I threw together a low-key barbeque menu of  ~ hamburgers, our son would provide the meat. My daughter just happened to have made a potato salad that morning. I went with store bought coconut cream pie and chocolate ice cream instead of the usual baked from scratch dessert.

When the two other Joeys arrived, the littlest one was ready for an adventure. He loves the drive out in the country to our home and by the time he is set free from the confines of his car seat, he is bursting with energy to burn.

Our black Lab greeted them at the front door with such enthusiasm, father and son could barely enter. There was a brief petting fest before they advanced to doggie number two ~ the elderly Rottie/Shepherd. “My Jakie, my Missy, I’m here!” Joey promptly helped grandpa feed the dogs their dinner. This was a very big deal, scooping kibble out of the giant bin, dropping the nuggets while listening to the tinkling sound as their shiny metal bowls filled up, and then watching them devour supper without leaving a single morel.

Oh boy.

Grandpa Joe went out to the back patio to turn on the propane and the littlest Joey followed, so did the big dogs.They have learned the BBQ means heavenly smells wafting at snout level and sizzling meats of all sorts flipped on the grill may fall to the ground, right into their pouncing paws. They have a strict one second gravity rule. If meat obeys their secret code call, and lands, it’s then an instant canine protein meal.

Some olive oil spilled, This was a disappointment to the dogs, but not to my grandson. He got to use the hose and nozzle to spray down the cement patio, grandpa’s shoes, shorts and shirt, the sunshade, the wicker chairs, and he was aiming for the table when he was redirected out into the yard. He then requested the nozzle be adjusted to the long-range stream setting. He washed our windows and watered the yard. Such a thoughtful Father’s Day gift for his grandpa. Meanwhile his dad made a run to the market a few blocks away to buy the meat.

I set the table and put out some chips and dip for snacking. When my son returned he seasoned the hamburger and flattened out large-sized patties for the buns. Jenny and I relaxed with the guys while the meat cooked. The dogs stretched out at the foot of the barbeque on voluntary guard dog duty.

We all gathered around the table and my husband prayed a blessing. We then chatted about just about everything ~ jobs, summer vacation, retirements, how juicy the burgers were, gluten-free BBQ sauce without high-frutose corn syrup, Buzz Lightyear and how Joey could find Woody on his plate if he sopped up the catsup with his bun. Just family chit-chat.

After dinner my grandson discovered the bright blue, soft cover baseball and bat set I got for his dad. The three Joeys found some dry grass and played ball. They took turns pitching, catching and batting. Ah the simple joy of an impromptu baseball game. It didn’t take our Lab Jake long to figure out that he could play outfield so he positioned himself and waited, He ran infield a couple of times to throw his body into the trajectory of the ball, and came so close, his jaws wide open like a leather glove.

I have to tell you that my grandson has quite an arm. Not that I’m bragging or anything.

We were about to retire inside when I noticed little Joey standing under the plum tree, his back to the rest of us, diligently and ever so quieting picking plums off a low lying branch. One plum went in his right jeans pocket, and one went in his left pocket. Pick, load, and pluck again. Most of the plums are still green, some a red, but several are a ripe squishy purple. Well that industrious fella turned around with an impish grin like he was wearing a double-holster with two six-shooters. He was relieved of his ammunition just in time for dessert. I guess a banana pudding cup and a bowl of chocolate ice cream top contraband with pits.

After a diaper change and little Joey hugs and kisses, they drove off into the sunset.

It was not by any means an extravagant adventure.

It was ~ family play time, meal time, smile and laugh time, talk and share time, and we got to babysit for a while time.

It was ~ perfect. Only one purple plum burst in Joey’s pocket. And that is what memories are made of.

 

* Note this writer/photographer was having so much fun I forgot to take any pictures. I did shoot the contraband fruit 24 hours later.*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Autumn Leaves of Gratefulness

As Thanksgiving draws near, the bounty of blessings poured out is spoken of with grateful hearts and joyful mouths.
Thanksgiving is my favorite celebration. It is the one holiday a year my family of seven sisters tries to gather and families together. Over the years our children have flown the nest and some live on the opposite coast. There are two soldiers that are stationed on the east and west coast also.
This year I am the hostess. For weeks my husband and I have been spring cleaning and preparing to serve. Joe ordered a 30 lb turkey. He likes leftovers.
We are a smaller group of fifteen this year. Everyone brings something to share. Traditionally we play board games, mix martinis in memory of my father ( I don’t drink them, but I do eat the olives), and put out a spread of about half a dozen homemade pies. There were years in the past that a dozen pies delighted all the brothers-in-law.
I look forward to filling our little home with laughter, nieces and nephews, college students, flashing cameras, and mother’s special sausage bread stuffing.
There have been mishaps. One year a brother-in-law ended up in the emergency room at a local hospital after he carved more than the turkey, (he recovered fine) some years the children outnumbered the adults, and my first Thanksgiving cooking, I didn’t shut the oven door tight and forgot to remove the bag of extra parts from inside the bird. That was an exciting year. My jello salad had molded cottage cheese but it was green Jell-o so who knew?
I was only eighteen. Thankfully, no one got ill because they really should have.

What are you most thankful for? Some of our best years were the ones you might have considered to be the worst. My mother has Alzheimers and won’t be with us, and my dad died a long time ago. My sisters and I are now the grandparents. I expect in the next few years a first great-grandchildren will arrive. What a year that will be!
May God’s bounty of blessings bring joy and laughter to the home you share with loved ones this Thanksgiving. Whether you are a small or large gathering, at home or eating in a restaurant, visiting your parent in a rest home, or volunteering to feed the hungry at your church or local food bank, I hope you get the chance to share beyond your inner circle of love.

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